1/14/09

Reduce

My dissatisfaction with 2009 is not just due to stomach bugs. It's more deep-seated than that; I'm not satisfied with myself. The year turned, and I realized that I am just exactly where I was at the beginning of 2008. I didn't make any positive changes during the previous year; I didn't improve myself in any way; things that bothered me about my life last January still bother me today. All I did last year was make it through; in fact, that's all I've done for the past several years, and I'm officially tired of it.

There's a line from a Liz Phair song that sums it up for me:

Half the time you didn't know any better
But half the time you did,
Hanging around like tomorrow doesn't apply to you.


I feel like that's how I've been living -- as though tomorrow doesn't apply to me. I make bad choices, or lazy choices, because it's the easiest way, or because I don't have the energy to make better ones. But this just creates a cycle of bad consequences. A spiral of suckitude, if you will. It needs to stop.

So, stealing an idea from my little sister, I've found my word for 2009. It is:

REDUCE

First, I want to reduce my debt. This means not only putting away the credit cards, but putting more of my "fun" money to my existing balances. This means eating out less, shopping at Zappos less (my weakness), and visiting Target less. This means using my Christmas and birthday money for the girls' school registration fees instead of at the bookstore. This means making choices that aren't much fun -- but by the end of the year, we'll all be better off.

I want to reduce my...I was going to say weight, but I'm going to use the word unhealthfulness instead, even though I'm not even sure that's a word. I need to eat better, I need to exercise. I need to stop defaulting to frozen pizzas on weeknights and McDonald's on Saturday afternoons. I want to feel better about myself, I want to have more energy, I want my knees and feet to not hurt every morning. And I need to enforce healthier habits in my children as well.

I want to reduce my children's dependence on me. That sounds weird, considering they're only 7 and 3, and I certainly don't mean that I'm going to start making them do their own laundry or drive themselves to school. But my children are really not very self-sufficient, and I'm beginning to feel resentful and impatient with them. They should both be able to, for example, put on their own shoes and socks. And dry themselves off after their baths. And get their own drinks of water. They should also be able to fall asleep without me sitting right beside them. This may be the hardest thing for me because I am so impatient -- I can't stand to watch a child take ten minutes to hang up a coat, I'd rather just take it the stupid coat from the child and do it myself -- but that isn't doing any of us any favors.

I want to reduce clutter. There are days I honestly cannot stand to be in my own house, it is so full of crap. It's hard for me to relax, nothing ever seems clean. My bedroom is the worst room in the house, I hate being in it. My kids have so many toys they don't know what to play with; nothing is special to them because they have so much. So this year, everything must go -- or at least, lots of things must go. I'm going to start at the top and work my way down. The attic (it's partly finished, and was meant to be my "office") is going to get cleaned out and turned into the kids' playroom. The current playroom is going to become Mallory's new bedroom; her bedroom will become Phoebe's room; the dining room will become my office and a place for homework and crafts. Any time I bring something in to the house, something else must leave -- if I buy a bagful of new clothes for the kids, I'm going to take a bag to donate the next day (our town is covered, suddenly, in drop-boxes for clothes and shoe donations; there's one on every corner. I'm not exactly sure who I'm donating too, but I don't even care as long as the stuff isn't in my house anymore).

I want to reduce...sloth and apathy. I used to have ambitions, aspirations. I used to want to be somebody. Now...well, a few days ago my boss was telling me some ideas he had for our department in the coming year, ways we could expand and enhance and improve, and my (internal) reaction was: "Eh, that just sounds like a lot of work." And this isn't just because I'm not crazy about my job; in fact, what he was talking about -- writing and editing -- are things that I used to want my job to be all about. I've just grown lazy and uninspired and complacent and brain-dead. I've kind of given up on the idea of going back to school and changing my career (we just don't have the money), but that doesn't mean I should sit back and do a half-assed job at the career I DO have; rather, I should dig in and try to make it all that it can be, to learn all I can, both as a way to improve myself and as a way to improve my chances of moving on. But also -- I need to find some outlet outside of work, some hobby, or volunteer position, or something to bring me some fulfillment, something to engage my brain. I used to be smart; I'd like to feel that way again.

So there you go, my goals for the year. To behave as though tomorrow does apply to me.

I'll start tomorrow next week.

4 comments:

aimee said...

Awesome word. You know I have been feeling a lot like you. I feel unhealthy and lazy, no energy, and no idea how to change. But I guess I just have to do it.

So good luck to you. You can do it! I will do it with you. (Less Target for me means more money for us in the long run).

Maybe this time next year we will both be feeling a lot better about ourselves.

(However, I still think you are pretty awesome now!)

Anonymous said...

Great word - and who would have thought that there are that many ways to reduce. Good luck in all of your ways to reduce.

Mom

PS - I agree with Aimee. I think that you are pretty awesome!

Anonymous said...

Krista, I have been reading your blog for a while now and also think you are awesome. My swiss cheese brain is having a hard time coming up with this little reply and I am in awe every day of your ability to make me laugh and cry and remember stuff...In fact I get a little perturbed if you or Aimee doesn't blog every day. I loved November!!!! So my point is even if you catch yourself looking down upon yourself, some of us are still looking way up to you!!!
Love you,
Michelle

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